Weekend DVD: Idiocracy, by Mike Judge
Regular readers of Backstage know that movie and music recommendations are rare here, but after watching Idiocracy last night, and wanting to re-watch it this morning, I had to make an exception. It’s a Mike Judge (Office Space, King of the Hill, Beavis and Butthead) film, and like its predecessors, a comedy about our increasingly dumbed-down society. The hook: it takes place in the future, and it’s actually funny. In quick summary, the main character Joe’s in suspended animation for 500 years, and wakes up to discover the world hasn’t evolved, but rather devolved into idiocy, laziness, and poor taste.
The most popular channel is the Violence Channel, with a TV show called “Ow! My Balls!”—just one example of Judge’s masterful use of crass humor. While the population sits around all day in combination recliners, toilets, and feeding tubes watching ads mixed with monster truck rallies and Fox News, everything’s on the verge of collapsing, and Joe’s now the smartest man alive.
There’s a reason you probably haven’t heard about Idiocracy. Fox financed the film, then killed it (with an extended post-production delay, the most limited of theatrical releases, and no promotion at all). Put aside the Fox News parody, which the company surely didn’t mind (much). If you look at the movie’s extensive mockery of big brand names—Starbucks and H&R Block have become adult massage parlors (serving Hot and Full-Body Lattes, and the “Gentleman’s Rebate”)—and copious scenes where Gatorade marketing is implicitly blamed for destroying the country’s use of water, then search the few articles that were written about its brief, almost secret run in theaters, it’s obvious that Fox was threatened by at least one mega-corporation and dumped the movie in fear.
It would be an understatement to call that unfortunate. Beyond the satire, which is non-stop (and worthy of pauses or re-viewings to see additional corporate logos and tainted slogans hidden on shirts, signs, and packaging), Luke Wilson’s portrayal of Joe is great, and I can’t think of two minutes that went by without a laugh. It’s actually funnier and more widely accessible than the cult classic Office Space, though the laughs aren’t always as deep. Given that the DVD can be had through Amazon for under $10, it’s seriously worth picking up—that’s where I ordered my copy when the two Target locations I visited were actually fully sold out of it.
One bonus for Apple fans: You might recognize “I’m a Mac” Justin Long in his brief role as Dr. Lexus, a future doctor whose recommended, nonsensical Valley Dude treatment for a freshly awakened Joe is to “like, y’know, heh heh, y’know what I mean, heh heh heh.” If you’d assume from his shirt, the other ads in his office, or past Beavis and Butthead experience that this meant anything in particular, the answer’s probably “no.” Like many of the other jokes, which I’m omitting here to avoid spoilers, it’s just a statement as to how bad things could become, and a hint that we’re seeing things go that way already. Laughing at it is a good start to fixing it.
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Universal calls an end to exclusives amid criticisms that Apple Music is hurting the industry
- Apple reveals some of its upcoming AI advancements for the iPhone
- Apple Music’s royalty rates complicate Spotify’s contract negotiations
- iFixit highlights ‘Touch Disease’ affecting many iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models
- Rebranded Nike+ Run Club app adds new tracking abilities
- Apple Music Festival set for Sept. 18-30
- Report: Apple planning three iPhone models for 2017, one with curved OLED display
- Apple investigating after two Foxconn employees died last week
- Apple buys health data startup Gliimpse
- Report: Apple passes on Lyft acquisition
- Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected Bluetooth Toothbrush
- Audeze EL-8 Titanium Over-Ear Headphones
- Defined Corp Dome Stand for Apple Watch and iPhone
- Speck StyleFolio Pencil for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Audeze Sine On-Ear Headphone
- First Alert Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm
- Logitech Create 9.7” iPad Pro Keyboard Case
- iDevices Outdoor Switch Power Outlet
- 808 Audio Canz XL Bluetooth Speaker
- Standzout Helix Dock for Apple Watch
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app